Microneedle-mediated immunization of an adenovirus-based malaria vaccine enhances antigen-specific antibody immunity and reduces anti-vector responses compared to the intradermal route
Substantial effort has been placed in developing efficacious recombinant attenuated adenovirus-based vaccines. However induction of immunity to the vector is a significant obstacle to its repeated use. Here we demonstrate that skin-based delivery of an adenovirus-based malaria vaccine, HAdV5-PyMSP142, to mice using silicon microneedles induces equivalent or enhanced antibody responses to the encoded antigen, however it results in decreased anti-vector responses, compared to intradermal delivery. Microneedle-mediated vaccine priming and resultant induction of low anti-vector antibody titres permitted repeated use of the same adenovirus vaccine vector. This resulted in significantly increased antigen-specific antibody responses in these mice compared to ID-treated mice. Boosting with a heterologous vaccine; MVA-PyMSP142 also resulted in significantly greater antibody responses in mice primed with HAdV5-PyMSP142 using MN compared to the ID route. The highest protection against blood-stage malaria challenge was observed when a heterologous route of immunization (MN/ID) was used. Therefore, microneedle-mediated immunization has potential to both overcome some of the logistic obstacles surrounding needle-and-syringe-based immunization as well as to facilitate the repeated use of the same adenovirus vaccine thereby potentially reducing manufacturing costs of multiple vaccines. This could have important benefits in the clinical ease of use of adenovirus-based immunization strategies.